January 21, 2009
Now how much would you pay for that toll road?

So we still don't know how much the Katy Freeway managed lanes will cost you to use.

Harris County Commissioners are expected to consider a fee schedule and the opening date next month. The new lanes -- two in each direction that opened last fall for limited usage -- are expected to be transformed into toll lanes no earlier than May, officials said.

The county intends to use a flexible-rate system based on congestion, called dynamic pricing. Initially, certain rates will be set for rush-hour commutes, and different prices may be set for other periods. After about 90-days, the prices may change based on traffic observations.

Signs near the entrances to the Katy Freeway lanes will announce the rates.

Just an idle thought here, but how much usage do we think these managed lanes are going to get? Given the state of the economy, I don't think too many people are going to be willing to shell out five or six bucks a day to get to work a little faster. Plus, as things stand right now, the traffic on the main lanes of I-10 isn't all that bad. At least, in my limited experience driving out that way in the afternoon of a weekday, traffic has flowed pretty well. That surely won't last forever as we get more development further out west, but it is the case today.

Normally, I wouldn't care that much about this. Like I said, I don't drive that way very often. But considering that the Harris County Toll Road Authority spent a half billion dollars to build those managed lanes, it would be nice to know if the demand they projected for them at the time is still about what they're expecting now. Are they in the soup, or are things going as they envisioned? I'm curious what an updated estimate might look like.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 21, 2009 to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

I would like to see the commissioners and County Judge get paid by the dynamic pricing method.

Posted by: Charles Hixon on January 21, 2009 12:19 PM

The contra-flow lanes should be priced at about zero, which is what I would pay to use them. I head out west in the morning and come back to the Uptown area after work - traffic is not a problem. Maybe I would pay $1 if there is a wreck and traffic is snarled, but so far hasn't happened in the few months that I-10 has been open in its new configuration.

I imagine the people coming into town in the morning might pay $1-$2 - traffic still seems to be an issue for them, though nowhere near as bad as before.

Posted by: Mike on January 21, 2009 1:18 PM
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